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Nov 28, 2014

Hanuman Space Project and Christmas Appeal!

Butterfly dancers photo courtesy of Silvia Gomes
Butterfly dancers photo courtesy of Silvia Gomes

Dear Friends and Supporters of Kampot Traditional Music School KCDI,

December is nearly here and on behalf of everyone at school I would like to thank you all for your marvelleous support to our program and to our children here in Kampot that you have given. In a short space of time we've raised over $2,000 and it's all thanks to you.

We recently completed a spectacular event which we hosted but which was organised by the Cambodian Space Project rock group, Intimate Spectacle Theatre group from Australia, Australian theatre directors and in partnership with the local contemporary art space, Lightbox. Our children and staff were delighted to be part of an incredibiliy imaginative and creative event, combining traditional Cambodian music and dance with contemporary music, theatre and stage effects! The story about a monkey who finds a piece of old space rocket in the jungle and decides to go to the moon, reflects the story of the migration of many Cambodians from rural poverty to urban living and the many challenges and changes they face along the way. We were honoured to have both the very famous Cambodian rock star Chanthy, as well as the great master Kong Noy, most famous of the Cambodian Chapeye musicians.

Our children were involved in workshops to create puppet space monsters, to paint their own ideas of space and to try out different sounds on their traditional instruments. They learned new choreographies and fused their traditional music and instruments with modern ones. Our staff and children learned many things not only about contemporary music, but also their own traditions and there was a happy mix of ideas from round the world, culminating in 2 evening performances at our school to packed audiences. The event was also widely publicized in Cambodia and abroad.

Here is what the theatre director said about our school,

"This project has been a fantastic experience. It is such a privilege working with so many talented people. The KCDI atmosphere is healthy and fun. Bravo to all the artists, students and teachers. (I felt) Very blessed to be part of the show!"

and the head of the Space Project rock band said,

"It's been an inspirational experience working with all the staff, teachers and students at KCDI. We couldn't have had a better project partner than KCDI" 

Recently we welcomed 4 new little children into our school, according to the requirements of the Ministry and Department of Social Affairs. We are now busy integrating them into daily life and helping them adjust to their new lives, which is certainly a big challenge for them and requires a long period.

We are preparing the way for university for our biggest girl who received her maturity exam and was only one of very few (30%) to be successful in the whole of Cambodia. We are looking into the possibility of reintegration through vocational training and apprencticeship for 6 of our largest students in their village of origin. 

We are creating our own miniature instrument making and Yike drum workshop and we are looking forward to creating our first Lakoun Sabaik Toch (Ancient small puppet theatre) for 2015...but I'll talk about that in our next report!


Christmas Appeal!

We have a big opportunity to reach our goal of $10,000 if you all join our Christmas appeal in December 2014.

Last week, we were turned down once more by a major donor, because we don't fit into their criteria. This happens very frequently, because we are involved both in the arts and with orphaned children, which can be quite awkward, although to us it feels the right decision. Also Cambodia is not on people's thoughts very often. Very rarely is Cambodia mentioned on the news and because of the appalling political fallout at the end of the Khmer Rouge genocide, many people througout the world, never got to know how dreadful it really was. This means that we have a double job of creating awareness about the past, in order to achieve recognition of our presence and our future. We are trying to be more and more economically self-sufficient and miniature instrument making and puppet theatre is a way forward, along with our CD sales and performances. However your help is vital!

From December 1st 00:00 (midnight) EST (Washington DC time) until 31st December at 11.59 pm we have been fortunate to have been selected by GlobalGiving to join the Year End Campaign. Please Join Us To and Make a Huge Difference!

We have to raise over $3,000 and have at least 30 different donors to be able to win $3,000 from GlobalGiving. We are aiming to have 100 donors!! Because we really want to ensure our school is supported through 2015.

All donations go towards feeding our chldren, clothing, medical care, teaching programs and child carers. There are no unecessary overhead costs and no expatriate costs. All contributions go directly to our school.

This is how you can help. If you have given an occasional donation, then please do give a donation to our school. Tell all your friends, use your social network, invite your work colleagues, everyone you think might be interested.

Please kindly take note of a few GlobalGiving regulations here below, so that donations can be made without any hitches! 

° If you wish to donate by cheque, please do so by 23rd December 2014.

° Giftcards and Texts are not valid

° Reccuring donors cannot be taken into consideration. if you have given an occasional donation, then you can still participate in our challenge, but if you are registered as a Reccuring Donor, sadly your donation cannot be included. 

Please make sure to donate to this project Education/Arts Orphans, Disabled Children Cambodia #16371

We have a Free Arts Training Project, please don't donate to this, because if some of you donate to one project and others to the other, then we won't win $3,000 from GlobalGiving. Please remember that all donations go towards all our projects at our school, because we are one entity and both our orphaned children and our arts-training children benefit, if our school is supported and remains open!!!

From us all in Kampot. Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a truly Peaceful and Happy New Year

Should I go into Space? Photo by Silvia Gomes
Should I go into Space? Photo by Silvia Gomes
Off to the moon! Photo by Sivia Gomes
Off to the moon! Photo by Sivia Gomes
Painting workshop photo courtesy David Rosenberger
Painting workshop photo courtesy David Rosenberger
The fishing dance KCDI
The fishing dance KCDI


Oct 8, 2014

Renewal of Free Arts Training Project for 2015

Free Arts Training Students in Yike Performance
Free Arts Training Students in Yike Performance

Dear Donors and Friends of Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children - Khmer Cultural Development Institute - KCDI,


Over a year has passed since you all began supporting our project, "Free arts training for over 400 children, Kampot Cambodia" at our school. Thanks to your generosity and continuity, our project has been running ever since, reaching out to the hundreds of very poor children in Kampot Province and providing them with a free training in traditional Cambodian arts.

Your help has been fundamental in ensuring the success of this project, we would not have been able to continue without your support. Did you know that this project is important for the following reasons and has achieved these same goals?

- Poor children can at last have access to free traditional performing arts education of the highest calibre, thus sharing in their cultural heritage and learning about their identity.

- Talented children can pursue the arts from primary school to high school level and take exams at KCDI to prepare them for entrance into the Royal University of Fine Arts and a career as a professional musician or dancer.

- Tuition of the arts helps towards the goal of preserving traditional Cambodian culture for the next generation of young Cambodians and ensures the survivial of this World Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO).

- Our school is part of a far-reaching program by the Ministries of Culture and Education to promote traditional Cambodian culture and to ensure that every primary school child has access to this learning. Unfortunately the Ministries in question do not have the resources to reach out to all of Cambodia nor do they have enough teachers, that is why this project in Kampot Province is held to be so important and unique and why our school, the Kampot Traditional Music School is held up as a role model for the rest of Cambodia.


Where do our Students Come from?

Students currently atttending these courses of Pin Peat, Mahori music, Classical Cambodian ballet, Folk dance and Yike Theatre are from three main state schools, "Samdech Ta", "Dipok" and "Kampot Krong". This is a quote from the head teacher of Dipok state school,

"Sometimes our students come to school without shoes on, or shoes which are falling apart. They come to school without books or stationary. They come from outlying rural areas in Kampot which are very poor. If the Kampot Traditional Music School didn't provide free tuition, these students would never be able to attend the arts lessons there."

From the photograph included in this report, you can see our Yike students giving their first major performance. These young students have in the space of one year, gone from being absolute beginners, to giving important theatre performances.



It is vital for the well-being of our students currently attending these arts training courses and for future primary school students to come, that we continue this extraordinary successful project. We have organized the coming academic year's curriculum, our current arts teachers from the Royal University of Fine Arts and the Ministry of Culture and National Theatre remain with us and are enthusiastic in continuing this program.

We will be expanding our program to include the tuition of Small Shadow Puppet Theatre (Sabaik Lakoun Toch) and Miniature Instrument Making:-

Sabaik Lakoun is an ancient art form dating back over 1000 years. It is a much loved and revered art, but yet in Kampot Province there is no puppet troupe. Learning the skill of shadow puppetry and how to make puppets will enable our school to learn a new and important art, reach out to more students, provide a therapeutic and holistic art form, as both our residential students and outreach students work on new educative story lines, practice funny voices and learn new ways of self-expression. Above all the citizens of Kampot can come and enjoy wonderful puppet performances and help contribute through small entrance fees, towards the upkeep and running costs of our school.

Miniature Instrument Making is a way of learning a new handcraft skill, directly connected to the mission and central theme of our school....Traditional Cambodian Musical Instruments! We can't afford to make large real instruments like gongs, because they require a metal foundry to melt bronze. But we can promote miniature instruments using local materials and help students and teachers learn new skills and through the sale of these tiny instruments, for our school to raise money to help us be more self-sufficient.

Please help us make sure our Free Arts Training continues for this coming academic year 2015 and help us with the start-up costs of these two worthwhile curriculums in our arts-training program; by joining our:-

GlobalGiving Fundraising day on the 15th October, where your donation will receive 30% matching funds from GlobalGiving. The Fundraising day starts at 09:00am Washington time and ends 11.59pm (23.59) Washington time.

Please check the World Clock Website for the right time to donate from your part of the world!

Thank you for all your very precious support and please keep on helping our important work.


Sep 3, 2014

The long road to success

Dance performance by Chanrika
Dance performance by Chanrika

Thank you

Before I begin our latest report, on behalf of everyone at the Kampot Traditional Music School for Orphaned and Disabled Children-KCDI: Thank you all so much for your wonderful response to our Global Giving Bonus Day.

We raised enough funds to feed, clothe, house our children and pay our Cambodian staff to teach and care for them, for more than 2 months. This is really wonderful.


The long road to Success

Background: It is not easy for a child to grow up without parents or family even in a loving enviroment as our school. Our staff are like family for our children, helping them to feel loved and wanted in this society. The tuition of performing arts helps our children to feel a sense of purpose and dignity, helps them to heal. Our scholastic program from primary until university level helps them acquire vital education necessary to make informed choices as they grow older.  Our staff are always available for children to talk about their needs and feelings.

Yet as for every child in the world who grows into an adolscent, there are many diversions and distractions and it is sometimes hard to remain focused and to perservere, sticking with one's goals and aspirations.

Today: I would like to shine a light on Chanika* who since she was a small girl first entering into our school after her parents died, has quietly studied hard both at classical Cambdodian ballet and also in her academic studies. A beautiful person with a sense of humour and calm determination, a kind person, helping take care of her younger roomates, we are all so delighted at the success she has brought for herself through her courage and hard work.

Recently she completed her final Baccalaureate exam and if all goes well, she has a choice either to go to University in Kampot and study there, or as principal ballerina at our school and with enormous talent, she has also been offered the possibility to go to the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and gain a degree as a professional artist.

Please help us to help her go to University either in Kampot or Phnom Penh and follow her dreams by donating $2800 to our school to cover University costs, lodging, food, clothing and study materials for the coming year.

Chanrika featured on the front cover of our CD. You can see her photo here.

Thank you


*In order to protect her privacy we have not used her real name. She gave permission for this report to be published and her photo used.

Chanrika rehearsing
Chanrika rehearsing


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